Will you 'Tie One on for Safety'? DUI awareness campaign kicks off

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Desert Car Care Centers and Mothers Against Drunk Driving are teaming up to help the community be safe while on the road this holiday season by encouraging people to pledge to drive sober and "Tie One on for Safety."

The statewide campaign kicked off Tuesday.

Those who sign the pledge will receive not only a MADD ribbon to let everyone know they stand against drunk driving, but Desert Car Care Centers also will give them a free set of windshield wiper blades and a voucher for 20 percent off service up to $100.

"It's our little bribe … to call to attention the severity [of drunk driving]," Desert Car Care Centers Chandler CEO Frank Leutz said. "There's no catch. Just come on and sign that pledge and 'Tie One on for Safety.'

The offer is good through the end of the month.

"In the 35 days between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, about 30 people die here in Arizona -- almost one person every day," said MADD spokeswoman Kelly Dupps "MADD's 'Tie One on for Safety' campaign is really that public education piece to get out there and be safe and sober and buckled up during the holidays."

"The accidents that happen are preventable and we can't remind people enough, especially around the festive holiday season, to make commitment to have a designated driver," Leutz said.

3TV's Javier Soto signed the pledge on TV for all to see.

"If I'm going to talk the talk, I've got to walk the walk," he said, pen in hand.

In addition to displaying the MADD ribbon, both MADD and Desert Care Care Centers are encouraging those who take the pledge to share their commitment on Facebook and Twitter.

Last year in Arizona, more than 265 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes where a driver had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. The average BAC of the more than 32,000 people arrested in Arizona for DUI was 0.157 -- nearly double the legal definition of impaired.

While some people believe they know how much alcohol they can tolerate, police say there's really no way to calibrate it. Everybody reacts differently, and many factors can contribute to impairment,.

"There's no way to say, 'What is enough? What are you safe at?' explained Officer Dave Payne of the Chandler Police Department. "The best way and the best policy is if you're going to drink don't drive. It's extremely simple."

Arizona DUI laws are some of the toughest in the country. With the state's zero-tolerance policy, you can be arrested for DUI by being "impaired to the slightest degree."

"It doesn't matter how much you drink. You don't have to be that .08...," Payne said. "You can be arrested for lower than that just simply because you are impaired."

Penalties for DUI offenders include mandatory jail time, thousands of dollars in fines and fees and mandates that offender, even first-time offender, use an ignition interlock device.

Tips to ensure all your family and friends are safe this season:

  • Promote the non-drinking designated driver concept in party invitations.
  • Host parties by providing alternate transportation or accommodation.
  • Have bedrooms and your sofa ready for those who need to spend the night.
  • Provide plenty of food, yet avoid too many salty snacks, which tend to make people thirsty and drink more.
  • Designate a non-drinking driver before the celebration begins.

Desert Car Care Center locations

  • 95 N. Dobson Road, Chandler -- (480) 420-3555
  • 2341 S. Val Vista Road, Gilbert -- (480) 855-8300
  • 1655 W. Guadalupe, Gilbert -- (480) 497-4787